This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Studio 110

I have seen the Studio 110 signs for a week or two now, and yesterday I thought I would stop by Stunt Dawg Studios to see what was happening.
The framing business that had been at Harvey's Copy Center and had moved to Kem's Hardware after Tom Harvey retired was now moving again to Stunt Dawg, where it will go under the title of Studio 110. (Their address is 110 North Front Street if you are wondering where the 110 came from.) The display area in front was undergoing major renovation, but samples of frames were already on the wall. Stunt Dawg/Studio 110 does not keep all those frames in stock--they order what they need when they need it. UPS and FedEx allow small businesses to maintain very small inventories.
When I came to Rensselaer, Wood Brothers Seeds was at this location. They moved a number of years ago to the old Farm Bureau lumber yard on McKinley just north of the railroad tracks. The Parmeles told me that the building was originally a creamery and then later a beer warehouse or distribution center. Anyone know more about that history? The Jasper County Interim Report says the building was built around 1915.

Then they asked if I would like to see what was behind the little display room. After a zig and a zag we entered a large room with a very large machine. It is an eight-station, ten-color tee-shirt silk-screening machine (or something close to that).
However, it is not the machine used for most tee-shirt work. Rather this much smaller and older machine that can only do five colors is used on most jobs.
A tee shirt is placed on the paddle.
The acetone plate is pressed down on it. Notice the black ink on the right.
The operator pulls the ink over the screen and presses it in. (The light was low, so this shot got a lot of blur.)
Then the screen is lifted and the almost finished product is ready.
The final step is to send it through an oven that will result in the ink being bonded to the fabric so it will not wash out. The magic of chemistry is involved in this step.

(The above shows the printing of the back of the tee shirt. Doing the front requires the whole process to be done a second time.)
You are undoubtedly wondering why use the old, little press when a big, new press that can print over 300 shirts an hour is available. Although the big press will print shirts much faster, it requires more time and work to set up. So if someone needs only a dozen or two tee shirts, it is easier and faster to do them on the small, manual press. However, it you want hundreds or thousands of tee shirts with lots of different colors, that job will be done on the big press. I noticed that a plate for the Rensselaer Cross Country Invitational was still on the big press, so that is the type of event that it is used for.

There are also steps required to prepare the plates or screens. The design is done on a computer and printed, then transferred to an acetate plate, and then there are some more steps that were a little more than I could understand. I think you need to have actually done things similar to this for it all to make sense.

There was even more behind this room. In the far back was the space where they will do the actual framing and also where they produce the various types of signs that they make.

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